The amount of literature covering the issue of leadership is truly immense, yet very few books strike the chord with their readers as innovative, honest, and effective. “Leaders Eat Last” is one of the lucky exceptions since its author Simon Sinek manages to pinpoint the argument exactly and convey his ideas in a clear and convincing manner. The goal of the book is to examine what it means to be a leader and how great leaders are born.
In a broader scope, leadership is the main focus and topic of Sinek’s (2014) book, as the title indicates. Indeed, Sinek provides a clear and exhaustive introspect into the meaning of being a leader, the challenges that one faces, and the journey that one has to take in order to excel at leading a team. However, when narrowing the perspective from which the key themes and ideas in the book are discussed, one will realize that the problems discussed in “leaders Eat Last” are also thematically related to communication, collaboration, and improvement.
Main Points and Perspective
Clearly promoting the idea of servant leadership as the focal point of his statement, Sinek posits that a good leader has to focus on being invested in the development and performance of their team, as well as the well-being, motivation, and progress of their subordinates. The specified approach is very reminiscent of the philosophy of Servant Leadership, which suggests that a leader should be considered with the plight and the needs of all stakeholders involved, thus serving the community.
The paper starts with the identification of the key themes found in Sinek’s (2014) book. Afterward, the organization and arguments made by the author are discussed, followed by the assessment of the book’s main strengths and weaknesses. Finally, the paper will conclude with the critique or writing and the recommendations for exploring the issue of leadership further.
Analysis and Evaluation
In his book, Sinek (2014) tackles several important themes emerging within an organizational environment. The concept of leadership itself is one o such notion. Sinek goes to extensive lengths in his endeavors to capture the varied nature of the considered phenomena, thus causing the reader to embrace the multiple facets of leadership and the issues with which the process of leading a team is typically associated. For example, the issue of attitude toward staff members and the perception of the latter is tackled directly in the book as Sinek (2014) explains that viewing the target audience as equal is crucial for a successful leader.
In addition, the forces that shape a leader and the approaches that they select in the organizational environment are explained in the book in great detail. The emphasis on the multitude of available frameworks upon which one can build a leadership approach is one of the recurrent themes in the book since it returns to each chapter taking a new form. For example, Sinek (2014) considers the human paradox as the main factor in defining the leadership strategy. Namely, the author outlines the fact that a leader ao considers team members both as individuals and as members of a community, a team, or the society simultaneously. Thus, one will be able to create a compelling leadership strategy that will guide the team members to success. The theme of obstacles that leaders have to overcome to establish a positive influence in the target environment and lead the team to victory has also been explored in great detail in the book.
However, by far the most important theme that Sinek has included into his book is one of the true purposes of a leader. By pointing out that a leader needs to serve the community and team members, Sinek addresses a very important concern associated with the management of power that is given to a leader. The specified theme cannot be considered as being on the surface; instead, it remains mostly implicit throughout the book, with only the title reminding the reader about the hidden layer of meaning. However, the notion of a leader being responsible for the changes that they impose on the stakeholders involved in the leadership process is addressed fully at the end of the book.
Knowledge, Judgment, and Organization
In his discussion of leadership, the role that leaders play within a community, and the change that they are capable of making, Sinek offers a perfect example of a masterful exploration of a theme. Despite the presence of multiple facets and nuances to the specified issue, Sinek rarely succumbs to a biased viewpoint, representing a mostly objective position on the issue of leadership. Therefore, the author makes his judgments in goodwill, providing a diligent assessment of the issue and demonstrating an impressive amount of work done to prove his point. In a similar way, the organization of the book is quite elaborate. The well-paced argument and the clear layout allow keeping the focus on the important aspects of the book.
Key Argument Points
What makes Sinek’s book especially valuable as a source of knowledge about leadership and the tasks that a leader has to perform in order to gain efficiency is the compelling argument that the author conveys. Namely, Sinek (2014) states that true leaders have to take care of their teams and prioritize the needs of their subordinates over those of theirs.
A possible counterargument could be made by pointing out that the personal needs of team members may not necessarily align with those of the project that a leader needs to implement. In fact, in the instances where team members have not accepted corporate values fully, they may strive to pursue their pern without due regard for the performance of their organization (). Therefore, as a leader, one should be mindful of the situations that may involve the abuse of the existing regulations and, instead, introduce the solutions that would allow all parties involved to benefit. However, the described scenario seems to relate to the problem of miscommunicating corporate values and failing to use a leader’s influence to encourage team members to share the said corporate values and use them as the basis for decision-making. The specified observation circles back to the initial statement made by Sinek, namely, the fact that a leader needs to exert their influence in order to change the participants’ perspective by building their loyalty. The latter, in turn, will increase once a leader positions themselves as concerned with the plight and the needs of staff members.
The general argument that Sinek (2014) makes in his book cannot be considered obtrusive; instead, the author provides a reasonable combination of his own perspective on the issue of leadership and the opinions voiced by other scholars. Nonetheless, since most of the authors that Sinek (2014) quotes to support his general idea of why using the approach that can be characterized as mostly Servant Leadership leads to positive results, the implicit persuasiveness of the argument is quite high. At the same time, Sinek does not claim that the opinion expressed in his book is the only one that has the right to exist when addressing the process of building an efficient leader. Although Sinek (2014) does not consider other strategies for establishing leadership within the workplace setting or in any other kind of environment, he still maintains a compelling discussion, addressing different aspects of leadership and establishing clear guidelines for maintaining a proper leadership strategy. Subtle elements of a persuasive argument can be tracked down in some of the wording that Sinek (2014) uses in his book. For instance, the title of one of the chapters are written in the Imperative Mood: “Keep It Manageable—Obey Dunbar’s Number” (p. 112). Thus, the author increases the degree of persuasiveness, at the same time refraining from obtrusiveness.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Although the theme of leadership is very vast and inviting for a profound discussion that can cover several volumes, Sinek manages to summarize his key ideas succinctly, at the same time hitting the main points precisely. The specified brevity is one of the main advantages of the book, which allows it to shine and serves as the means of drawing attention to the discussed issues. The conscious decision to abstain from long-winded philosophical discussion and focus on a brief, yet academic analysis of what constitutes a leader contributes to the book’s advantages.
In addition, Sinek uses quite a number of examples that illustrate his point rather evidently. Thus, the book allows transcending the line between theory and practice, making the application of the provided guidelines to a specific business case comparatively easier. For example, Sinek makes an effort to demonstrate the absolute necessity for a leader to promote transparency and honesty in his actions by considering the example of the Bank of America (Sinek, 2014). Namely, the book renders the instance in which the Bank of America represented the facts concerning the payment t in a different light to its users than the manner in which it was explained to the company’s financial partners. By analyzing the backlash that the Bank of America received, as a result, Sinek makes a valid statement concerning the need for a leader to be reliable and fully transparent in their corporate policies and decisions.
The fact that Sinek does not shy away from discussing the issues that are controversial and likely to generate vast debates within the business community is another advantage of the book worth discussing. For instance, the power dynamics within a team where a leader is entrusted with a substantial amount of resources and the ability to make decisions that will directly affect the lives of those involved has been tackled directly, without any trace of ambiguity in his narrative.
The presence of objectivity in Sinek’s assessment of the key factors influencing leadership, as well as the role that leaders play in a team and the changes that they are capable of making, is worth appreciation as well. Achieving high levels of objectivity is a rather difficult task when tackling the concept that contains inherent subjectivity in itself. Indeed, when leading and making the relevant decisions, one has to rely on one’s own sense of justice, reason, and values, which whimakesles the process of leading a rather subjective process. In turn, even the analysis of the subject matter invites multiple opportunities for introducing subjective viewpoints. The specified challenge is linked directly to the fact that being an author of the book, Sinek assumes the role of a leader when guiding his readers through his narrative, hence the unique situation that implies the possibility of breaking the fragile balance of power between the narrator and his audience ().
Even with the multiple advantages outlined above, the book has several disadvantages that may hold it back as a resource for building strong and efficient leaders. For example, one should point to the lack of insight into the theory of leadership. Indeed, while Sinek dwells upon the theoretical aspects of leading a team, he rarely supports his assumptions with one of the existing theories of leadership. Although his stance on the role of a leader is very reminiscent of the Servant Leadership Theory, Sinek never mentions it, which obscures the analysis and makes it slightly less efficient. However, the weaknesses described above can be considered minor nitpicks compared to the advantages that the book has to offer. Specifically, the focus on the various aspects of leadership and the recommendations for improving the adopted leadership style need to be addressed as the strong points of the book.
Key Characteristics of Writing
In addition to a range of advantages concerning its content, “Leaders Eat Last” also has several distinctive features incorporated into its writing style, which makes it a particularly important piece to consider when examining the existing literature on leadership. For instance, the approach that the author has adopted to the descriptive part of his book represents a deviation from the traditional formal framework of communicating with the audience. Despite the fact that the rigid formality seems to have become obsolete in most textbooks, a range of scholarstendsd to conform to the traditionally formal approach to writing. However, Sinek (2014) manages to balance between the writing style that can be described as clearly academic and the approach that allows appealing to the readers of different experience levels. For instance, Sinek does not refrain from using the first person when the need to make the writing closer to the reader and introduce the latter to a more intimate knowledge of the subject appears. Specifically, Sinek claims at some point that “It was only about 10,000 years ago, when we first became farmers instead of hunters and gatherers, that we started to move into a surplus economy” (Sinek, 2014, p. 113). Sinek (2014) could have used “humankind” instead of “we,” yet he chose to make the sentence more personal and, thus, allow the reader to submerge into the experience of learning about the history of leadership.
Likewise, literally, the same page features another deviation from the traditional approach to academic writing, namely, the presence of a rhetorical question. Specifically, Sinek asks, “are they using their surplus to affect change that is good for society or for themselves?” when speaking about the people with the largest amount of assets within a particular society (Sinek, 2014, p. 113). Since the author answers the specified question immediately after posing it to the reader, the specified device can be seen as a rather primitive, yet very efficient tool for holding the audience’s attention and pointing to the essential aspects of the narration.
Content Critique and Opinion
To his credit, Sinek abstains from representing solely his personal perspective but, instead, provides an amalgamation of the existing viewpoints. Namely, when addressing the issue of power imbalance within a team, Sinek (2014) mentions the following: “The more attention a leader focuses on their own wealth or power, they stop acting like a leader and start taking on more of the attributes of a tyrant” (p. 140). With the statement above, Sinek approaches the problem of power abuse, which is a dangerously tangible threat for leaders. The examples of real-world tyrants, which Sinek offers in his work, are clear enough to outline the problem, yet the author is wise enough to use these examples sparingly not to cause aversion toward the very idea of leadership among his readers. Thus, the arguments that Sinek provides remain compelling and strong, while the warnings of the possibility of power abuse retain their impact and serve as important tools for restraining the leaders that may become too invested in the process to coordinate their willingness to seize control.
Conclusion and Recommendations
Focusing primarily on the idea of Servant Leadership as the strategy that will allow improving the relationships between an organization and its staff members, as well as inspire employees and promote professional growth among them, the book by Sinek (2014) provides an insightful look at the chores of a leader. By analyzing the ideas that were addressed in “Leaders Eat Last,” one will develop a framework for managing workplace issues and handling the problems associated with leading a team. Although the writing of the book, namely, the style and other characteristics such as the manner of introducing new ideas, can be described as new and, therefore, enticing, the device in question is still quite effective in measuring the qualities of the school. Overall, the adoption of the strategy offered in this essay seems to be the most reasonable strategy for approaching the specified cases. Although their participants still call for a significant amount of sympathy, their actions are still to be condemned. Therefore, the idea of empathy as the philosophy behind decision-making in the organizational context needs to be encouraged.
Sinek, S. (2014). Leaders eat last: Why some teams pull together and others don’t. New York, NY: Penguin Group.